Nootropics are usually associated with focus and memory, but they actually help with depression as well. With the right choices and proper adjustments based on the effects that have been achieved, a person can significantly alleviate the symptoms of depression. For people who have been feeling the pressure of this illness for a long time this comes as a welcome relief.

Still, depression is a uniquely complicated condition and we don’t want to give anyone false hopes, just facts. The reason behind the complexity of this illness is the fact that many patients who exhibit the same symptoms may suffer from different issues.

This is because depression can be caused by multiple sources and, in some cases, even a combination of sources. Things like medical issues, prescription drugs, genetic issues, unbalanced mood regulation and a plethora of other sources. This is why nootropics experts don’t claim that a particular substance will work for everyone to the same degree.

It seems that the function of neuronal circuits and neurogenesis have a bigger impact on depression than the levels of neurotransmitters do, which makes the issue even more complicated.

Another important issue with depression is the presence and effects of stress. Stress suppresses neurogenesis which can reduce the size of the hippocampus.

According to a research study conducted in Munich the hippocampus was 9% to 13% smaller in depression patients. Stress is everywhere and nobody is immune to it. The level of stress and prolonged exposure to it is something to consider when picking your nootropic supplement.

Let’s see what nootropics have shown success in helping people with depression keep their illness at bay. Make sure you do further research before you decide to go for one of the nootropics from this list.


This nootropic is eight times more potent than piracetam but even though it is fat soluble, which most of the time indicates a longer effect, it only has a 1-3 hour active effect. This is significantly shorter than most nootropics, which is why it is recommended to take 2-3 doses a day as needed. Aniracetam is a reliable anxiolytic and a proven mood enhancer.

Its main effect is achieved through the modulation of neurotransmitters. It can also help improve vision, boost creative thinking, abstract concept learning and is generally beneficial for the right side of the brain.

A typical dosage for Aniracetam is between 750 mg and 1500 mg, but you should be careful not to overdo it. Like most nootropics from the racetam family, if there is too much in your system its effectiveness may be significantly reduced.


Another nootropic from the racetam family that can help with anxiety and depression. The Japanese pharmaceutical company Nippon Shinyaku originally developed fasoracetam as a drug to battle vascular dementia, but their medical trials didn’t bring the desired results.

The development of the drug was then taken over by NeuroFix and in 2016 medical trials continued, now focused on treating kids with ADHD as a substitute for amphetamine-based drugs like Adderall.

The supplement lowers the production of glutamate and boosts gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and through this lifts depression, reduces anxiety and improves memory as reported by users. A study has shown that it can also help combat learned helplessness in rats.

Ginkgo Biloba

This nootropic has been in use for a long time. The tree originates from China and has been used to boost cerebral circulation for as long as a thousand years. A study that included 1,570 men and women was conducted in England to test its effects on the human brain.

The volunteers were taking Ginkgo extract daily for 4, 6 and 10 months, with the best ultimate results found in users who were using the extract the longest. The overall results included the reduction of depression symptoms, improved memory and more energy.


This nootropic was original derived from animal sources, but due to possible implication of this (potential disease transmission) it is today derived from soy and cabbage. This nootropic is commonly used to treat depression with older people when regular antidepressants stop working.

The positive effect of Phosphatidylserine are backed by a study released back in 2015 and this chemical is found in our brain naturally. It’s function is the maintenance of cell structure. Phosphatidylcholine is a compound of lecithin, but these two chemicals are not interchangeable.


A nootropic that originates from South America that also has a long tradition of use among the native people for its sedative effect. It can be used to successfully reduce anxiety and depression but without impairing cognition like benzodiazepines do.

A successful study was conducted on the Kava plant to show the effects it may have on the human brain and this was done with healthy subjects in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The results shown have been more than encouraging.


A very safe amino acid that is naturally found in the human body and has a crucial role to play when it comes to the body cleaning out toxins and waste. Glutathione, which has a crucial role in the function of healthy cells, is very dependent on Acetylcysteine.

This supplement is used to treat depression, but also cannabis and cocaine addiction, schizophrenia, various sleeping disorders, etc. A clinical study has proven its effectiveness and this has further contributed to its popularity as a supplement.


The main reason why this supplement is so widely used as an alternative treatment for depression, insomnia and anxiety is the fact that it’s a direct precursor to serotonin. The 5-HTP supplement is derived from Griffonia simplicifolia – a plant found in Africa.

It is important to note that 5-HTP isn’t recommended as a long-term solution and should not be used in combination with other antidepressants, because the serotonin levels can go too high. This is especially true when it’s combined with SSRIs or MAOIs. It can be used to resolve short-term issues in mild disorders but not full-blown depression issues.

Best Nootropics for Depressions


There are two studies, a meta analysis and a placebo-controlled study, which show that the effectiveness of Tianeptine in treating depression is equal, if not greater than that SSRI. Through stimulating glutamate, AMPA, and NMDA receptors, it increases the absorption of serotonin without causing most of the side effects of SSRI.

This means that there are no negative effects on attention and focus, sexual potency or memory. This is a powerful substance used in treating severe cases of depression and you should definitely abide by the best practices when it comes to dosage. This supplement requires prolonged use (2-3 months) to properly take effect, as shown in most of the studies.

Coenzyme Q10

Being that quite a few disorders, including depression, are considered to be mitochondrial dysfunctions it’s no wonder that we see coenzyme Q10 on this list.

This coenzyme is a natural energy source for every cell in our body and is responsible for converting fat into energy. Q10 also helps fight migraines and 1200 mg of it is enough to combat most depression signals caused by high oxidative stress.

One month of using this supplement can reduce up to 50% of depressive brain time and while it is not an active nootropic, it can really help battle depression.


Another nootropic that’s coming from the Racetam family, only this one is more potent than Piracetam. It is ideal to help combat stress, depression and anxiety, but it also has more than a few positive side-effects. It helps users relax with more ease, improves reflexes, cognition, memory and facilitates learning.

The neuroprotective properties of Noopept are great for the long-term health of neurons. This nootropic is absorbed quickly and takes effect after only 15 minutes.

Depression is a tricky one to manage and even with additional help from nootropics, it can take some time to get the right dosages, as well as finding the right supplement for your situation. As we already mentioned, the symptoms and causes are not always straightforward with depression, so make sure you pay attention to the effects they have and adjust accordingly.

As with each new substance it is important to start with more modest dosages or, in other words, on the lower end of the recommended dose, so you can properly gauge its positive effects. Read up on each and every one of these before you make a definitive choice.

The goal is to find what works for your situation, which will require some patience and testing. We hope we’ve been able to help you understand depression a bit better and the factors that impact its deterioration and improvement.


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